Wildfire crews are battling an out-of-control wildfire in central British Columbia — one of seven human-caused blazes reported in the Cariboo region on Saturday afternoon.

The Burgess Creek fire is burning over an area of 0.5 square kilometres — about 50 kilometres south of Quesnel, a city about 415 kilometres northeast of Vancouver.

The fire is sending a thick plume of smoke into the air that is visible from Quesnel, Williams Lake and Highway 97C, according to B.C. Wildfire Service (BCWS) information officer Madison Dahl.

However, Dahl said Saturday afternoon that no homes or buildings are threatened at this time.

“There’s over 25 personnel on the ground. We have heavy equipment that will be working throughout the night,” Dahl told CBC News, noting there are also helicopters and planes on site.

A large plume of smoke in the distance on a ridge.
The Burgess Creek wildfire is not threatening any structures, according to Dahl. (B.C. Wildfire Service)

Dry conditions and strong winds helped the fire spread Saturday afternoon and into the evening, Dahl said.

Crews were working through the night to establish lines of control while temperatures are cooler and would re-evaluate their strategy Sunday morning, she added.

The other six fires reported in the Cariboo fire centre on Saturday are all either out, under control or being held, according to BCWS.

“That’s in large part thanks to the efforts of volunteer fire departments both in Quesnel and Williams Lake,” said Dahl. 

“It’s only because of the sharing of resources and the quick response and assistance from those fire departments that we were able to properly respond to all of the wildfires.”

But Dahl said it is still “a lot of wildfires to respond to” in one day, let alone so early in the spring. 

Other fires reported in Interior

Crews are also battling out-of-control wildfires started in other parts of B.C.’s Interior this weekend, signalling an early start to what wildfire and election officials have warned could be another “very challenging” wildfire season ahead.

Two wildfires were reported in the Prince George fire region on Saturday, and both of them are currently classified as out-of-control.

BCWS and Kamloops fire crews responded to an out-control grass fire near Cooney Bay, about 20 kilometres east of downtown Kamloops on the north bank of the Thompson River. It is believed to be human-caused, according to the BCWS.

The fire was brought under control Saturday evening and crews will remain on scene overnight, Kamloops Fire Chief Ken Uzeloc said in a social media post shortly before 10 p.m. PT.

About 15 kilometres north of Lytton, the out-of-control Skoonka Creek wildfire is burning over an area of 0.3 square kilometres. BCWS is taking a modified response because there is no immediate risk to life or property, according to its website.

In the province’s southeast corner, a small fire was discovered on Saturday as well and is burning out of control about 20 kilometres north of Grand Forks, according to the BCWS website. It is also suspected to be human-caused, according to the service.

CBC News has reached out to the BCWS for more information on the fires.

Dahl urged people out enjoying nature to be careful and to report smoke and other signs of fire to BCWS immediately.

“Every time we have to respond to a human-caused wildfire, especially after a lightning bust, that depletes the resources that we have to respond to those natural fires,” she said of the Cariboo wildfires. “These are all preventable fires.”

Source link www.cbc.ca